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2015 NCAA Tournament: Bracketology (IV)

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The Life and Times of The Big Barbecue, Volume IV.

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Happy Mayhem Month, everyone! Welcome back to our College Crosse Bracketology Information Session, Volume IV!

There is way too much going on, so let's get right to the Big Board! Everything is updated through May 3, 2015.

2015 BRACKETOLOGY (IV): CONFERENCE CHAMPIONS
TEAM CONF RPI WRPI SOS 1-5 6-10 11-20 AVG. RPI W AVG. RPI  L RPI 1-10 W RPI 40-69 L
Syracuse ACC 1 1 3-2 3-0 2-0 19.17 2.50 Cornell, UVA, Duke, Albany, North Carolina, Duke N/A
Albany A. East 8 19 0-1 1-1 1-0 40.4 5.50 Yale N/A
Denver B. East 5 11 2-1 0-0 3-1 28.1 9.00 Duke, Notre Dame N/A
Johns Hopkins B1G 11 8 0-2 1-1 2-3 31.00 15.25 Maryland N/A
Towson CAA 20 46 0-0 0-0 2-2 37.36 26.80 N/A Hofstra
Yale Ivy 9 12 0-0 1-2 3-2 32.18 13.00 Maryland N/A
Marist MAAC 21 54 0-0 0-0 0-1 51.30 24.67 N/A N/A
Bryant NEC 28 15 0-1 0-2 0-2 49.50 19.11 N/A N/A
Colgate Patriot 13 20 0-1 0-1 0-1 33.00 21.00 N/A Boston U.
High Point SoCon 27 33 0-2 0-0 0-0 53.00 21.17 N/A Mercer

2015 BRACKETOLOGY (IV): POTENTIAL AT-LARGE POOL
TEAM CONF RPI WRPI 1-5 6-10 11-20 AVG. RPI W AVG. RPI L RPI 1-10 RPI 40-69 L
Notre Dame ACC 2 4 3-2 1-0 3-0 16.60 4.50 North Carolina, Virginia, Syracuse, Duke N/A
North Carolina ACC 3 3 3-2 1-1 2-0 23.83 3.33 Denver, Duke, Virginia, Syracuse N/A
Duke ACC 4 2 1-5 1-0 3-0 25.33 2.40 Virgina, Notre Dame N/A
Virginia ACC 6 5 0-4 1-0 2-0 29.50 2.50 Cornell N/A
Maryland B1G 7 18 1-0 0-1 3-2 29.17 11.67 North Carolina N/A
Cornell Ivy 10 7 0-1 2-1 2-3 31.70 11.00 Albany, Yale N/A
Georgetown B. East 12 6 0-4 0-1 2-1 37.90 7.00 N/A N/A
Brown Ivy 14 28 0-0 1-2 2-0 34.33 16.75 Cornell N/A
Ohio State B1G 15 10 1-1 1-1 2-2 34.91 33.00 Denver, Maryland Detroit, Rutgers
Princeton Ivy 16 9 0-0 2-3 2-1 31.22 16.00 Cornell, Yale N/A
Marquette B. East 17 14 0-3 0-0 1-2 40.50 15.67 N/A Bellarmine
Harvard Ivy 18 16 0-2 2-1 0-2 30.43

16.71

Cornell, Yale Dartmouth
Navy Patriot 19 30 0-0 0-1 2-1 37.22 17.40 N/A N/A

* The at-large pool was limited to teams currently ranked in the top 20 of the RPI that are potentially eligible for NCAA Tournament inclusion.

Some quick notes about the Big Board before we breakdown The Big Barbecue's seating chart:

  • Philly Watch: The dream of 1.5-plus Philly teams died last week, and Saint Joseph's loss to Bryant in the NEC final yesterday put the nail in the coffin. A valiant effort from the Hawks, but Bryant's defense was made of sterner stuff.
  • Johns Hopkins: Like a blue phoenix rising from the ashes, Hopkins smoked Ohio State last night to win the inaugural Big Ten Tournament title. What a world we live in.

Before we get into the nitty gritty, please check out this important piece from Patrick Stevens of Syracuse.com regarding some things the committee will take into account as they construct the seating chart for The Big Barbecue. A couple important notes from the article:

  • "The four AQ winners with the lowest RPI will participate in the play-in games on May 6th before being funneled into games against the top two seeds."
  • "The committee has long dealt with a demand from the NCAA to a limit of two flights in the first round. Teams located more than 400 miles from the competition site are permitted to fly rather than bus."

Got all that?  Good.

  • Top Eight Seeds: I believe the top eight seeds on Selection Sunday will look like this: (1) Syracuse; (2) Notre Dame; (3) North Carolina; (4) Denver; (5) Duke; (6) Virginia; (7) Maryland; (8) Cornell.
  • At-Large Field: The ACC's non-champions will take up half of the at-large field. North Carolina and Notre Dame are stone-cold locks. Duke's clutch win against Notre Dame in the first round of the ACC tournament solidified their spot and Virginia's victories over Georgetown and Cornell earned the Cavaliers a seat at The Big Barbecue. Here is where it gets ugly: The final four teams invited to The Big Barbecue will be Maryland, Cornell, Ohio State, and Princeton. 
    • Maryland's recent collapse aside, the Terps should be one of the last four in the tournament. Maryland's top five RPI win over North Carolina, along with the its own top 10 RPI ranking, should help drag the Terps over the finish line, despite its relatively weak strength of schedule. Similarly, Cornell has two top 10 RPI wins and is 10th in RPI. While the Big Red's loss in the first round of the Ivy League Tournament was surprising, their spot is secure.
    • I might be higher on Ohio State than others, but I believe the Buckeyes have earned a seat at the table. While the Buckeyes' losses to Detroit and Rutgers were disastrous, Ohio State also has three top 11 RPI wins -- Denver, Maryland, and Johns Hopkins -- and a top 20 chaser in Towson. Moreover, Ohio State also has the 10th-ranked strength of schedule in the country.
    • The last spot goes to Princeton. While Georgetown has competitive numbers (12th in the RPI and a strength of schedule ranked sixth) and no bad losses on their resume, the Hoyas also failed to win any games of consequence. The Hoyas two wins over Marquette were the only top 20 RPI wins on their resume. Towson's win last night moved the Tigers into the top 20 and bumped Loyola out, taking away a top 20 RPI win from Georgetown's resume. Additionally, while Brown beat Princeton, the Bears also have the weakest strength of schedule of any team legitimately in the at-large pool. Princeton, like Ohio State has three wins over top 11 RPI teams in Yale, Cornell, and Hopkins. Additionally, the Tigers also have the ninth-ranked strength of schedule in the country. When you add it all together, I believe the Tigers get the last invitation to The Show over Georgetown or Brown.
  • The committee is going to have to work around the flight rule. If our predictions are correct, eight teams will come from either Upstate New York, Northern New Jersey, or New England. These teams comprise or 40 percent of the field. With so many teams bunched up in one corner of the corner, it will be difficult to construct a bracket that doesn't require more than two teams traveling over 400 miles. The application of the flight rule could drastically impact the ultimate bracket construction.

NCAA Tournament Seating Chart

Play-in Games:

Bryant at Marist
High Point at Towson

First Round Games:

Annapolis
(1) Syracuse v. Marist/Bryant
(7) Maryland v. Yale

Denver
(4) Denver v. Ohio State
(5) Duke v. Johns Hopkins

Annapolis
(3) North Carolina v. Princeton
(6) Virginia v. Colgate

Denver
(2) Notre Dame v. High Point/Towson
(8) Cornell v. Albany

That covers it for our final College Crosse Bracketology Information Session. Like manna from heaven, the committee releases the real bracket at 9:00 PM (ET) tonight on ESPNU. See you in the Trap House comments section. Remember: Everyone who isn't your team is an enemy.